Tuesday 3 October 2023

Beginner Locomotive Chassis Workshop

Those who follow this blog regularly will have seen some discussion of an upcoming Beginners Locomotive Chassis Workshop.  There had been a great deal of discussion within the area group of locomitive building, it was seen by some as a barrier for entry - the soldering together of the chassis block itself is relatively simple on the face of it, however, knowing how to bring the rest of the components together to form a functioning chassis was eluding many of us.

Alisdair, our Glorious Leader and an accomplished locomotive builder, was badgered by a number of us lowly new-starts at various Area Group meetings to an extent that the Area Group could host a specific workshop to focus on our problems and give the poor man some peace...

As such, on Saturday 30th September, a number of us gathered at the ESME premises at Almondale to focus on locomotive chassis building.  Alastair, Alistair, Graham, Simon, Andy, Martin and, visiting from the North East Area Group, Tony, gathered to hear from the experiences of Alisdair, Jim and James.

We had been set homework - to work on a 2FS chassis from the range of conversion kits available on the Association website (3-630 - 3-691).  Some of us paid closer heed to this than others, as I (Martin) had been working on the Association Class 08 kit.

I will apologise, photographs and descriptions are relatively sparse as I spent most of the meeting trying to sort my chassis out, but I will do my best...

Alastair was working on his Class 03/04 Chassis.  He had done a CAD Drawing and 3D printed a body to go over the association etched chassis.  By the end of the meeting the chassis was running under its own power (well, track power), with wheels quartered and coupling rods held on with the traditional wire insulation.

Simon and Alistair were working on 3F Jinty's.  Progress was steady through the meeting, however, no photos were found.

Andy was working on a chassis he had converted himself but wasn't running particularly smoothly (I'm sorry Andy, I think you said it was a J-something but I forget...).  It went through a phase of not working after Alisdair had fiddled, to working again and running under its own power by the end of the session.

Alisdair floated around the room pointing out tweaks and suggesting the root cause of problems.  We catch him here discussing Alastair's 3D printed body for his 03.

Graham was also working on a Class 08 - this one 3-681, the Graham Farish Conversion etch rather than the Association kit (3-711a and beyond).  He and James were discussing gearing here if my notes are correct - one of the learning points from the weekend was Visually Inspecting each of the gears and using either a very fine file or some 400 grit sandpaper/wet and dry to polish each of the teeth and remove any burrs etc.

Tony had brought along one of his myriad of Black 5's made from the Association "kit". I think he's got 7 or 9 of the kits to do - see 2020s Blog entries!  He had admitted work had stalled, and had brought along his kit to seek advice on bending/rolling some of the bodywork.  He and Jim also spent some time discussing valve gear - Jim loudly saying thanks to Messrs Sinclair, Connor, Brittain, Drumond, Smellie, Lambie, McIntosh and Pickersgill of the Caledonian Railway that they had seen such things as unnecessary in their locomotive design.

Tony had also brought along some converted stock, part of the fleet for the North East Scotland Area Group's Dunallander layout, being exhibited at the Aberdeen Model Railway show at the end of October.  He and Jim spend some time looking over these so they would be fit to run.

A final shot of Graham working on his Class 08 - the gears are in, the wheels are in and quartered by hand.  He'd used the association quartering jig to help insert the wheels, however, the jig is set up for more traditional wheels and struggles with the external cranks of the Class 08, meaning fine tuning was done by hand.

I, typically, forgot to take photos of my own work and am writing this from the common room of a hostel in Germany and was forbidden from bringing any modelling supplies so cannot take any photos...  

However, I had brought along my 08 and my J94.  The J94 issues appeared to be related to a stripped worm, and a new worm was fitted which improved running, however, necessitated removal of the motor, and will still require the gearbox to be fixed on the free side - some 0.4mm and 0.8mm PCB has been procured.

The 08 started as a bare chassis and by the end of the meeting was fitted with gears and wheels with quartering complete, and requiring the motor mount fixed in place.  There may be more of an update at the next Area Group meeting.

Overall this was an incredibly useful session which helped develop our skills.  There was discussion about holding a more advanced workshop at some point in the future, looking at things like rolling boilers and valve gear - for me, who has at least one Black 5 in my future, say nothing of some BR Standard and LMS large tanks in my future, this sounds incredibly useful.

It was suggested that we each keep a locomotive on the go to allow us to have these more focused sessions on a halfly or yearly basis to help us progress the various projects.

Our next meeting is the usual Area Group Meeting on the 14th October.  Visitors from other Area Groups and those of no fixed abode are always welcome.  We've mostly stopped biting.  Contact details are in the Association Newsletter which accompanies the Magazine

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